Adventures in Couponing

recycling bin
Grab coupons wherever you can, even at the town dump's recycling bin--I do! Photo: Courtesy of free images at Dreamstime/Matthew Richardson

Anyone out and about last Saturday night in Fairfield would have found two women dressed in black and wearing heels wandering around CVS, Walgreens, and Stop & Shop hunting down coupons and discussing Extra Care Bucks and how to get free cosmetics. After a mutual birthday dinner celebration (thanks to Groupon), my friend and I wanted to give our husbands and kids more time to themselves (well, we really just wanted to hang out together longer without spending any money!). We both admit–though it’s not for everyone, we had fun walking out of stores with coupons.

That’s just one of my shenanigans when it comes to couponing. TFF went to the town dump yesterday and yours truly asked the kind gentleman who oversees the paper recycling area if I could search for coupons. It felt weird to literally garbage pick my way to a bag full of coupons. I don’t regret doing it, or getting the strange comments from residents throwing in their bags of papers over my head. I still have to get over the feeling of worrying about what others think as I rifle through papers.

But, the bottom line is this: couponing can work. It’s not just saving a buck on shampoo. It’s getting lots of free things for family, friends, and charity. And, as groceries go up and up in price (did you hear the reports yesterday about the rising costs of coffee, in addition to everything else?), I don’t see anything wrong with taking advantage of a tool that the manufacturers and stores want you to use. In the words of one featured woman on the Extreme Couponing show: I think it’s a shame if you’re NOT saving money.

Excuse me now while I go empty out some shelves in my basement so I can stash some stockpiles.

~TFF’s Four Frequented and Favorite Couponing Sites:

Coupon Mom (great tutorials and forums)

Hot Coupon World (great tutorials and forums)

Coupons.com (printable coupons)

Simply CVS (all about CVS and Extra Bucks)

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5 thoughts on “Adventures in Couponing

  1. The bad looks you get while you’re searching the skiff might be people worried about identity theft. They’d probably be relieved to know you’re looking for coupons.

    1. OMG, I never thought of that!! I better make it clear next time….thanks for the heads up! TFF

  2. Agree cpns can definately save on taxable items, the bulk of my cpn use. I figure that if i cover at least the tax, I am one step ahead. : )

  3. I’d add that one should follow a pricebook, and know your personal bottom line for pricing an item and compare THAT price (after store card discount, after sale, after coupon, etc) to alternative brands, especially store brands. 5 lb bags of Domino sugar are currently $5.49/bag at a local IGA. I had a 75 cent cpn which they double, bringing the price down to $3.99. Aldi’s sells private label sugar for over a $1 less/bag ($2.89). No question-the coupon deal didn’t offer the best scenario for my bottom line out the door.
    I also caution as to just what the coupon deal offers for the money, and based on ingredients. Many items (soup, stock, bread, pizza, beans, spaghetti sauce, waffles, pancakes, etc) can be made for pennies compared to what stores and manufacturer’s charge. While I do agree in keeping a few convenience items on hand, so as to avoid pricier take out, the budget minded consumer who is also health conscious would do better to make as much him/herself. The more the store does for you, the more you pay. Buy a pkg of ground beef, form your own burgers. Buy a tray of BSCB, make your own cutlets, kabobs, etc.

    While I would be considered a “heavy cpn user”based on this article, coupons aren’t the only trick to reducing grocery costs.

    1. Great tips! Coupons are definitely not the only way to save money. And, I also agree that using coupons for unhealthy processedfood is nota goodhabit.I cook from scratch so I try to use coupons for as many basics (eggs, flour, sugar as you mentioned) as possible. But what I really, really love are the coupons for drugstore merchandise like soaps, shampoos, toothpaste. It takes a lot of crunching numbers to see if the coupon or the store brand sale is the better buy. If someone really hates to crunch numbers, couponing is not going to be fun. Tip: Keep multiple calculators around the house and in the purse. What I’ve noticed is that couponing is actually a controversial subject! Some people love it, others think it’s ridiculous and a waste of time. I say–to each his/her own! ~TFF

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